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ONLY ON 3: Wrightsville Beach laws face a line in the sand

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — With a smoking ban under consideration at Wrightsville Beach, many people wonder if the town could even enforce such an ordinance. So what is legal? What’s not? And where?

At Wrightsville Beach the line in the sand is drawn at high tide. It’s called the 1939 Line, which defines town property from the dunes to the high water mark.

Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti says the fact that the town owns any of the beach makes it different.

“We’re a little unique at Wrightsville Beach, because most beaches couldn’t even attempt to do what we’re proposing, because they don’t own the land that’s out on the beach,” Cignotti said.

Cignotti says the proposed smoking ban that will be voted on in November may be affected by the line.

“In my opinion, we can enforce most of the beach,” Cignotti said. “You are correct in saying that someone could literally go into the water and smoke a cigarette. We could not enforce that.”

Cignotti says if this becomes a problem, Wrightsville Beach will contact the state about finding a solution. Visitors to the beach say if they are told something is illegal, they’re not going to waste their vacation trying to figure out loopholes.

“I think only the residents will know it and take advantage of that,” visitor Rose Burwell said. “Otherwise I think visitors will just obey the laws.”

A ban on drinking alcohol at the beach is enforced the same way a smoking ban would be. Mayor cignotti says the town stands by the drinking law and has never had a problem with anyone challenging it so far.

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